Office Hours LIVE! Color Management Order of Operations, and Getting the Elusive “Filmic” Look

January 25, 2024

Mixing Light's panel of Colorists answers questions on color management with log footage, the "filmic" look, and choosing your clients.


Editor’s Note: This Office Hours LIVE! was originally recorded in October 2022. There were multiple technical issues, including missing ISO recordings, and it was put on the ‘back burner’. We recently realized it had never been released. We edited around the technical problems, losing about 10 minutes of the conversation. But we hope you still enjoy it, it’s a good discussion!

Mixing Light contributors Neil Haugen, Jason Bowdach, Peder Morgenthaler and Cullen Kelly join Mixing Light CEO Patrick Inhofer to answer questions from some of our community members. The conversation included:

  • When comparing RCM to node-level color management, the resulting picture ought to match exactly — and what to troubleshoot when it doesn’t
  • How to properly tag the correct color transform settings in order for RCM to function properly
  • When an image is transformed out of a log state, it may look high contrast — and that’s ok!
  • “Clipping” is used to describe details that cannot be recovered. Consider the order of operations in the node graph when dealing with crushed blacks and blown out highlights
  • How would anyone describe a “filmic” look?
  • Experiment with aesthetics native to a film workflow, such as shifting the white-point to D60
  • How to ask your client thoughtful questions generating a meaningful response.

Question 1

“I would like to know which is the better option to use: project management settings or the ResolveFX color space node.

When I use either option on my V-Log footage, I get very contrasty looking results. At times my blacks get clipped, as do the whites.

        ~Mark N.

Question 2

“The client’s notes are that the grade looks too “digital”. How do I ask her to describe what a non-digital look means to her? How do you achieve a “filmic” look?


Mentioned in this Insight:

  • Mid Grey Cheat Sheet – Cullen’s online resource for determining where middle grey should sit in a log state for several popular camera bodies. A good resource when discussing footage acquisition before shooting (or for educating a client in post-production who is confused about why they’re not getting the results they want).
  • Panasonic DC-S1 Mirrorless Camera – The camera referenced in Mark’s question.
  • Shot Deck – An online resource for reference stills from feature films. Communicate creative intent with your client by saving stills into decks.
  • In the Blink Of An Eye – The seminal book on film editing, mentioned by Cullen Kelly.

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